Making Sense of Healthy Cat Food Claims

Many companies claim to make healthy cat food, but not every food benefits your cat. It is important to read cat food labels and make sure you avoid fillers, dyes and excessive carbohydrates.

Cats require water, protein and amino acids like taurine to live long, happy lives. The problem is premium cat food companies cut costs by using by-products (beaks, feet, feathers, etc.) and fillers like wheat gluten. Cats thrive on pure proteins. They do not need vegetables or grains. In fact, many cats suffer gastric problems after eating these unnecessary ingredients.

Key Ingredients in Healthy Cat Food

The first ingredient in any health cat food, canned or dry, must be meat. Look for the words "chicken," "beef," "lamb," "duck," or "turkey." If it says meat by-products or poultry by-products, avoid that food. By-products include parts of an animal such as beaks, intestines, feet, hooves, heads, lungs etc. It's poor quality protein. If the ingredient lists meat meal without specifying in the type of meat, avoid it. Chicken or beef meal are okay.

Corn is a common allergen for cats. Avoid any food listing corn, corn meal or corn gluten.

Avoid dyes and preservatives. You'll see them listed as BHA, BHT, propylene glycol or propyl gallate. Quality healthy cat foods tend to use Vitamin C or Vitamin E as a preservative.

If your cat does not eat canned foods, toss them raw meat once in a while. Purchase the meat from a butcher and freeze it thoroughly to kill any bacteria. Thaw the meat in the refrigerator and serve it raw. It's the best form of a protein a cat can have!

Misleading Healthy Cat Food Claims

Cat food companies that tout products as being designer foods specially formulated for specific breeds or circumstances can be misleading. Take sensitive stomach formulas, for instance, they usually contain the same ingredients as other cat foods, but the grains are removed. There is little difference between sensitive stomach formulas and grain free premium cat food offerings.

The same is true with premium cat foods for specific cat breeds. Look at the first six ingredients from a specialized Siamese cat food. The food claims to be great for a Siamese's muscle tone.

  • Chicken Meal
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Brown rice
  • Corn
  • Chicken
  • Barley

Now look at that same company's healthy top six cat food ingredients for Maine Coon cats. This time the food boasts nutrients necessary for the fur color and joints of a Maine Coon:

  • Chicken meal
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken fat
  • Corn
  • Chicken

Very little is different between the two foods. Not to mention, the pure protein source is towards the bottom of the list. Chicken meal is okay, but not optimal and glutens are not necessary.

Why Canned Cat Food is Great

Cats rarely drink enough water. Canned cat food contains far more water than dry cat feed. Moreover, the protein source in canned food is generally higher. While canned cat food is more expensive, it's the best food to feed a cat.

Healthy cat food options in cans still need to have pure protein sources. Avoid canned products that use by-products.